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Tesoro Cultural Center

Tesoro would like to thank Colorado Gives & donors who support and ensure that Tesoro can continue to fulfill its mission. Tesoro is grateful to have the opportunity to reach and serve residents of metro Denver communities through programs and events that enrich and celebrate our cultural heritage.

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Holiday Auction Party

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Adults

Description

Support Tesoro Cultural Center and plan to attend our Annual Holiday Auction Party on December 2, 2018 at The Fort Restaurant at 19192 Highway 8, Morrison, Colorado. Tesoro joins GivingFirst for Colorado Gives Day (24 Hours to Give Where You Live) to raise monies for nonprofits in Colorado. With your help, Tesoro's goal is to raise over $30,000 for general operations and programs.

Join us for an evening of bluegrass music, delicious hor's d'oeuvres compliments of The Fort, cash bar, unique silent auction items. The silent auction includes Native American, Hispanic art and jewelry; and many more auction items that are designed for holiday shopping for a cause.

Please visit www.tesoroculturalcenter.org or call 303-839-1671 for information and/or to donate items for the silent auction or volunteer.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Las Posadas

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Adults
Aging/Elderly/Senior Citizens
Children ages 5 to 21
Families
General Public

Description

Tesoro partners with the Fraterna's, The Archdiocese Hispanic order also known as the Christian Life Movement to present a traditional Mexican and Southwestern event. Las Posadas is a wonderful Christmas tradition which literally translates in English as "the inns" or "the lodgings".

This celebration (held on December 24) commemorates Mary and Joseph's journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of shelter on the night of baby Jesus' birth. Local Hispanic children dress up as Mary, Joseph and angels. Accompanied by Mexican musicians, the children lead a burro and sing the traditional Las Posadas songs as they knock on doors asking to have a room for the evening. Visitors follow the procession around The Fort until a door is opened and they find a shelter for the night with a manger for baby Jesus. The pageant is concluded with the customary breaking of the pinata and the sharing of candy, songs and prayers both in Spanish and English. The event is free and open to the public.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Testimonials from the public who return every year to enjoy and/or introduce their families to this cultural celebration.

Farolito Lighting & Pinecone Ceremony

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Children ages 5 to 21
Families
General Public

Description

Tesoro Cultural Center celebrates a southwestern tradition of lighting the farolitos (paper lanterns) in the courtyard of The Fort restaurant. The festivities usher in the holiday season and honor a member of the community who has enlightened the minds and souls of others. The event is free and open to the public.

The farolito lighting opens with seasonal carols led by members of the Southwest Musicians and complimentary hot-spiced apple cider, coffee and biscochitos (bite-sized cinnamon-anise cookies) for all. After the evening's guest of honor lights the Farolitos, all guests are invited to join in the traditional pine cone ceremony. Everyone is asked to write the name of someone he or she wishes to remember on a slip of paper and tuck it into the cone. At the conclusion of the evening, the pine cones are placed in the courtyard campfire. Glimmers of light and bright fire glide upwards carrying the pine cone message and memory of the loved one into the sky.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Each year, The Fort's courtyard is filled with visitors no matter how cold or snowy it may be. The evening warms up with songs and the sharing of the holiday spirit as they honor a person for their giving to the community.

Public Education Program

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Children Only (5 - 14 years)
General Public

Description

The program meets and compliments the Colorado Content Model Standards for grades K-8 in History, Geography and Economics. We provide guided tours of Bent's Old Fort with an interactive trunk show to K-12 and adult groups. The half-day program (optional lunch or snack) operates throughout the year. Each year, we serve approximately 2.000 students from the surrounding area including Jefferson, Adams, Douglas, Arapahoe, and Denver counties.

In full 1830's attire, our educators and historical interpreters share what life would have been like during the Fur Trade Era while pulling reproductions of pelts, tools and clothing items from the trunk. Students learn about the cultural diversity of our state, life in Colorado from 1830-1840, key people and historical events. During the program, historic items, clothing and concepts are presented that reflect the ethnicity and contributions of the cultures that traded at Bent's Old Fort. This program offers an incredible opportunity for students to connect and to develop a sense of pride for their own cultural heritage.

Tesoro is at a critical point where it is necessary to invest in the human resources by hiring and training additional guides, interpreters, and coordinators. Tesoro will increase the number of children reached in Title 1 schools by expanding the "trunk show" and traveling to the school. Our historical interpreters will transport the trunk into the classroom. The trunk's objects encourage them to learn about Colorado history, the indigenous cultures who lived here and the day-to-day activities while they touch a fur pelt, hold a beaded pouch and pass around an iron cooking pot.

Goals and objectives:
1) Educate K-12 students about Colorado's early history by using The Fort (replica of Bent's Old Fort) for a model and living history site.
2) Increase and target market the Denver Metro-Foothills area schools
3) Enhance awareness of Colorado's rich multi-ethnic heritage through interactive participation using props such as 1830's replicas of attire, artifacts and objects.
4) Build upon the successful model established in the past by the trunk show and create duplicate trunks to travel on site to Denver Metro-Foothills area schools
5) Research and develop tours to meet Colorado education standards for 9-12 grades the focus on the Expansion West time period.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

We are seeing the demand for more interactive and sensory educational programs that utilize a variety of learning techniques to capture the interest of students. Our program provides this experience with the multi-cultural component and the living history environment. Children who tour The Fort are able to step back in time while our historical interpreters explain the lifestyles of the peoples who first settled Colorado. The following statements from the children and teachers are direct evidence of the program's success:

"My favorite part was the dress up because I was Kit Carson. I wore a big buckskin cote (sic) with fringes.... Dressing up was fun because Kit Carson was one of the best trappers in Colorado." Student from Shaffer Elementary.

"I learned alot about what the indians did before we had all this technoligy(sic). I think that I liked the tour the best. I enjoyed seeing the whole fort. It was very fascinating! Thanks so much I hope I can come again soon!" 4th grade student at Marshdale.

"Thank you so much for providing us the opportunity to learn more about Western History. Being able to access a visual representation of our history really helped me understand." 8th grade student at Slavens.

Teacher from Marshdale wrote,"I don't know how you could improve. The tour was excellent-our guides were so knowledgeable and interacted well with our students. Thank you!"

1830's Rendezvous & Spanish Colonial Market

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Families
General Public

Description

Tesoro's mission is to create community based events and educational outreach programs designed to enrich and celebrate our cultural heritage. The 1830's Rendezvous and Spanish Colonial Art Market focuses on Colorado's Hispanic-Latino heritage. It is vital to recognize the valuable contributions that have enriched our state from these communities by celebrating customs, traditions and arts from these cultures.

The Rendezvous utilizes The Fort's surroundings to recreate a day in the life of mountain men/women, traders and voyagers in the 1830's. The historic interpreters and presenters display their goods and reveal Colorado's history with demonstrations of trapping, tanning, cooking and early survival skills.

The two day event has Hispanic music and dance performances such as the Fandango and the Flamenco that often occurred at Bent's Fort during the 1830's. Audience members are invited to participate and learn the intricate steps.

Experience a day full of family fun in the old west.
The grounds around The Fort will have colorful trappers and traders selling their wares including buckskin jackets and belts, trade silver and beaver skin hats. Activities include adobe making, historical storytellers and hands-on educational activities. Visit an interactive education table with activities for children of all ages!

The Spanish Colonial Art Market features award winning Hispanic artists who use customary paints, materials and images to produce work with traditional techniques that often have been passed down through families. This art form is vanishing in our fast paced society and Tesoro's market is one of the last venues.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Each September, Tesoro has approximately 2,000+ visitors that include families, students, art collectors, history enthusiasts, Spanish Colonial & Western artists to mountain men and women. Surrounded by the adode replica of Bent's Fort walls the historic environment allows visitors step back into the past and visit early Colorado.

Individual memberships, corporate, family foundation and government support, attendance and recognition grow each year.

Indian Market and Powwow

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Adults
Families
General Public
Native Americans/American Indians

Description

Tesoro's mission is to create community based events and educational outreach programs designed to enrich and celebrate our cultural heritage. The 17th Annual Indian Market and Powwow in 2017 attracted approximately 2,000 visitors who experienced a powwow and Native American artists.

Tesoro opens The Fort's gates to families, students, art collectors, history enthusiasts, Native American artists, performers and dancers for two days in May. Surrounded by Bent's Fort with drumming, flutes and dancers in full regalia; families and visitors are able to step back into the past and visit early Colorado.

In creating the powwow, Tesoro partners with respected members and organizations of the community to make sure we follow the guidelines and regulations to produce an authentic event. John Emhoolah, who started the Denver March powwow, is Tesoro's event coordinator along with members of his family.

Tesoro's powwow honors all Native Americans who have served in the military and special honorees are chosen to receive an award each year. The powwow activities include The Grand Entry with a live eagle provided by HawkQuest and the Tribal Color Guard who proudly marches in with flags and invites the public to join the intertribal dance. Traditional, Shawl, Fancy, Grass and Jingle dance competitions include entries from tiny tots to elders.

The Indian Art Market is one of Colorado's largest authentic American Indian art show. Through our continuing partnership with The Council for Indigenous Arts and Culture (CIAC-an organization that promotes and protects Native arts and culture by means of education and technical assistance) our show ensures that all artists are affiliated with a registered tribe and all materials used in are natural and authentic. Tesoro shows and accepts only bona fide Native American artists as exhibitors and guarantees authenticity of all products for sales. As a result, our juried market attracts the country's most revered Native American artists for which professional and amateur collectors come from around the world to collect.

In 2016, we had over 50 artists show, demonstrate and sell works in clay, silversmithing, beaded jewelry, ledger painting, parfleche and clothing. To promote education, we collaborate with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science (DMNS) to provide hands-on-activities that explore the Native American arts and crafts including beading, pottery and basketry.

The Indian Market & Powwow is the quintessential activity and event which promotes Tesoro's mission. It is vital to continue to recognize the valuable contributions that have influenced our state from these communities by celebrating customs, traditions and arts from these cultures. Tesoro's powwow is recognized by many Native American tribes as an unrivaled environment to celebrate their heritage - a territory free place to meet and dance. One participant commented, "This was one of the nicest, most welcoming powwows-it was an honor to share this event with the dancers and everyone hosting it."

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

In May 2016, over 4,500 visitors came to the outdoor event and enjoyed the powwow and art show.

Every year, we sell out the booth space for artists to display their work. This year we had 49 award-winning Native American artists from Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming and Arizona (and other states) exhibiting and selling their work.

Historic Lecture Series

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Adults
General Public

Description

Tesoro's Historic Lecture Series is a total of fourteen to sixteen 45 minute lectures per season (October-May) which presents the finest scholars, writers and historians in the field of Western American history on topics pertaining to the history and culture of the early west. Since 2001, this series has gained in attendance each year and has a strong following from Tesoro's patrons and members.

Yale University and the Howard Lamar Study of Frontiers and Boarders academically endorse this series and has a permanent relationship with the Tesoro Cultural Center. Yale has long been a center for the study of the American West. They produce doctoral students who have competed for and won the top jobs in the field of western history all across the nation. The role of Tesoro in the nurturing of their professional careers has been of critical importance. It is a great opportunity for their students to speak to a non-academic audience, especially the kind of enthusiastic and engaged audience that we have attracted to our series.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Since 2001, this series has gained in attendance each year and has a strong following from Tesoro's patrons and members. The 2014-15 lecture series drew in approximately 700 people.

Tesoro has an ongoing partnership with the Denver Public Library and South Suburban Parks & Recreation. These partnerships have increased public attendance for this series with free Saturday & Sunday afternoon lectures on Western History and the Humanities. The public, including students, experience discoveries and interpretations regarding historical events, explorers and natives from prominent scholars in the field.

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